Personal MBA Coach founder Scott Edinburgh recently moderated a panel on the value of a STEM MBA (formally known as a STEM-designated MBA) for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Not only will a STEM MBA program teach students specific skills, such as using analytics to identify new customer insights, but it also will enhance key competencies such as critical thinking and managing risk. These skills are crucial for those hoping to launch new ventures successfully. Schools with STEM designation also tend to create unique environments that are particularly fertile for new ideas in the science and tech fields.
What are STEM MBA programs?
They are programs that give particular exposure to or provide specialization in certain fields (science, technology, engineering, and math) that, in combination with the preparation in business administration, are particularly valuable to economic growth in certain fields. A university’s entire MBA program can be STEM-designated or a specific program or major within the program: for example, at Harvard Business School, the Management Science track of the full-time MBA is STEM-designated.
Acquiring STEM designation requires going through a rigorous curriculum overhaul and ensuring that the courses meet government-established criteria.
A fast-growing number of top MBA programs are seeking STEM designation: According to the 2021 Kaplan/Manhattan Prep business school admissions officers survey, 22 percent of the programs surveyed were designated as STEM programs, up from 13 percent in 2020. Another 23 percent of the MBA programs surveyed said they planned to go through the process to secure designation.
STEM-designation is not only a technical/scientific credential that is appreciated by many employers and recruiters, but it also is becoming an important student recruitment tool.
In fact, the STEM-designated MBA offers particular benefits for , hence helping schools lure international minds to their programs: Because the tech skills they acquire through these programs are so attractive to employers, the US government allows these international MBA recipients to stay in the US through the STEM Optional Practical Training program, which grants these graduates an automatic 24-month extension, for a total of three years in the US post-graduation.
This means that as schools become more competitive, STEM-designated programs will have a powerful advantage in the recruitment of bright applicants from outside the US.
Which schools offer STEM MBA programs?
The business schools whose entire MBA program is STEM-designated include Berkeley Haas, Carnegie Mellon, Kenan-Flagler, Georgetown, and Texas McCombs.
Many other institutions have programs within their business schools or certain types of MBAs that are STEM-designated:
The Management Science track in Harvard’s Full-Time MBA
Harvard’s MS/MBA: Engineering Sciences Program is designed for those with undergraduate degrees in engineering, computer science, or a related technical field.
- Focus: The STEM MBA program at Harvard focuses on engineering, design and business fundamentals.
- Post-MBA Objectives: Most students aim to found technology-intensive startups. Others aspire to lead new ventures in established technology companies.
- Application Information: Applicants can apply in Round 1 or Round 2. One additional essay question is required for Harvard’s MS/MBA Engineering Sciences Program.
The Management Science Major at the Kellogg School of Management
Kellogg’s Management Science major qualifies as a STEM-designated field of study that prepares students to both manage and direct analyses to improve decisions.
- Focus: The major focuses on the application of analytical techniques, tools and models across the school’s academic disciplines.
- Post-MBA Objectives: Kellogg’s Management Science major prepares students for a wide range of careers including consulting, technology, finance and entrepreneurship.
- Application Information: Applicants can select Management Science as an area of academic interest for any of Kellogg’s 3 application rounds.
NYU Stern’s 2-year Full-time MBA program and the 1-year Andre Koo Technology and Entrepreneurship MBA
Along with its STEM-designated full-time MBA, NYU Stern also offers a Tech MBA program. The Andre Koo Tech MBA is a one-year STEM MBA program that gives students a foundation in business and allows them to graduate with a focus in technology.
- Focus: NYU Stern’s Tech MBA focuses on four key curriculum components: the business core, the technology core, Stern Solutions and electives.
- Post-MBA Objectives: The program’s experiential learning opportunities immerse students in the tech industry and prepare them to solve real-world problems post-graduation.
- Application Information: When starting an MBA application for NYU Stern, candidates can select the Andre Koo Tech MBA as their program of choice. The essay questions remain the same as the full-time MBA questions.
Cornell Johnson’s Tech MBA Program
Cornell’s one-year Tech MBA program is STEM-designated. With the majority of the program based at Cornell Tech in New York City, students have access to a rapidly growing tech sector.
- Focus: The Cornell Tech MBA program focuses on STEM MBA core courses and exposes students to topics ranging from financial accounting to marketing and leadership.
- Post-MBA Objectives: Cornell’s STEM MBA program prepares students for career success in the digital economy.
- Application Information: Those interested in the program can apply separately via the Cornell Tech website.
The Marshall School of Business Full-Time MBA & IBEAR MBA
The USC Marshall IBEAR MBA provides a STEM track for MBA hopefuls. The one-year program is designed for globally focused mid-career professionals.
- Focus: USC’s IBEAR MBA focuses on curricular and co-curricular learning, allowing students to build the knowledge, tools and business networks to become global business leaders.
- Post-MBA Objectives: Those who attend USC’s STEM MBA program are seeking global leadership positions post-graduation.
- Application Information: Due to its global focus, IBEAR MBA does not accept a large number of students from any one country. Thus, applicants are advised to apply early. The application deadlines vary slightly from the full-time MBA application deadlines.
Other STEM MBA Programs Include:
Several majors in the MBA program at Wharton Business School (Business Analytics, Business Economics & Public Policy, Business, Energy, Environment & Sustainability, Operations, Information & Decisions, Quantitative Finance, and Statistics)
MIT Sloan’s Full-Time MBA, Sloan Fellows MBA, Sloan Executive MBA, Master of Finance program
Columbia Business School’s Full-Time MBA and Executive MBA programs
The Duke Fuqua Management Science and Technology Management track in Daytime MBA program and the Accelerated Daytime MBA
The Berkeley Haas Full-Time MBA, Evening & Weekend MBA, and Executive MBA
The MBA and Master of Advanced Management program at Yale SOM
The University of Virginia Darden’s Management Science MBA specialization
If you are interested in applying to one or more STEM-designated MBA programs and need help with the selection and application, Personal MBA Coach is here to help guide you through the process. Check out our comprehensive services to learn how we can maximize your chances of success.